Who Diagnoses Autism In Illinois

For parents of children who may be showing signs of autism, seeking an accurate diagnosis is crucial. An autism diagnosis provides clarity and helps guide appropriate interventions and support for the child. It allows parents to access specialized services, therapies, and educational resources that can make a significant difference in their child's development and well-being.

Who Can Diagnose Autism in Illinois?

In Illinois, several professionals are qualified to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These professionals have specialized training and expertise in assessing and diagnosing developmental conditions like autism. The following professionals commonly contribute to the diagnosis of autism in Illinois:

Professionals Description
Pediatricians Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in caring for the health and development of infants, children, and adolescents. They play a vital role in the initial screening for autism and can refer families to specialists for further evaluation.
Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians Developmental-behavioral pediatricians are medical doctors who have additional training in developmental and behavioral issues. They are skilled in evaluating and diagnosing autism and other developmental conditions.
Child Psychiatrists Child psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions in children. They can assess and diagnose autism, particularly when there are co-occurring mental health concerns.

While medical professionals play a significant role in diagnosing autism, other professionals, such as psychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and educational specialists, also contribute to the evaluation and diagnosis process. Collaborative efforts among these professionals ensure a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis.

As a parent in Illinois, it's important to reach out to professionals who specialize in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder. They have the necessary knowledge and expertise to provide a thorough evaluation and diagnosis for your child.

Remember, an early and accurate diagnosis is the first step towards providing your child with the support and interventions they need to thrive. Seek professional guidance and support to ensure the best outcomes for your child and your family.

Medical Professionals

When seeking an autism diagnosis in Illinois, parents have several options for medical professionals who can help in the diagnostic process. These professionals have the necessary expertise and training to assess and diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. Let's explore the different medical professionals who play a vital role in diagnosing autism.


Pediatricians are often the first point of contact for parents concerned about their child's development. These doctors specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. While pediatricians may not provide a formal autism diagnosis, they can play a crucial role in identifying early signs of ASD and referring families to appropriate specialists.

Pediatricians typically conduct developmental screenings during routine check-ups, such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT). If a pediatrician suspects autism based on screening results or parental concerns, they may refer the child to a specialist who can provide a formal diagnosis.

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians

Developmental-behavioral pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in developmental and behavioral issues in children. These specialists have extensive knowledge and training in diagnosing and managing developmental disorders, including autism.

Developmental-behavioral pediatricians conduct comprehensive evaluations, which may include observing the child's behavior, gathering information from parents and caregivers, and using standardized assessment tools. They assess various areas of development, including social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. Their expertise allows them to formulate a diagnosis and provide recommendations for intervention and support.

Child Psychiatrists

Child psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health disorders in children and adolescents. While their primary focus is on mental health, child psychiatrists can also diagnose autism spectrum disorder.

Child psychiatrists conduct thorough evaluations to assess a child's social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. They may use a combination of interviews, observations, and standardized assessments to gather information. The diagnosis provided by a child psychiatrist can help guide treatment plans and interventions to address the unique needs of children with autism.

It's important to note that the diagnostic process for autism often involves collaboration between different professionals. Pediatricians, developmental-behavioral pediatricians, and child psychiatrists may work together to provide a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis for children suspected of having ASD.

By consulting with these medical professionals, parents can receive the guidance and support needed to understand their child's developmental challenges and access appropriate interventions.

Psychologists and Neuropsychologists

When seeking an autism diagnosis in Illinois, psychologists and neuropsychologists play a crucial role in the diagnostic process. These professionals have the expertise to assess and evaluate individuals for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on their psychological and cognitive characteristics.

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychologists are trained in the assessment and treatment of various psychological conditions, including autism. They employ standardized assessments and clinical interviews to gather information about a child's behavior, social interactions, and communication skills. Clinical psychologists often work closely with parents and caregivers to understand the child's developmental history and any concerns they may have.

During the assessment process, clinical psychologists may administer specific tests, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). These tools help in assessing the severity of ASD symptoms and determining if the child meets the diagnostic criteria for autism.

It's important to note that clinical psychologists may work in private practice, clinics, or within educational or healthcare settings. They collaborate with other professionals to provide a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.


Neuropsychologists specialize in understanding how brain function and behavior are related. They assess cognitive abilities, memory, attention, and executive functioning to gain a comprehensive understanding of an individual's strengths and weaknesses. Neuropsychological evaluations are particularly useful when there are concerns about intellectual functioning or if additional information about cognitive abilities is needed.

In the context of autism diagnosis, neuropsychologists conduct assessments that help identify cognitive strengths and challenges commonly associated with ASD. These assessments may involve standardized tests, observations, and interviews. The results provide valuable insights into the individual's cognitive profile and can help guide intervention planning.

Neuropsychologists often work collaboratively with other professionals, such as clinical psychologists, pediatricians, and educators, to ensure a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment. They play a crucial role in providing a comprehensive understanding of a child's cognitive abilities and how they relate to the diagnosis of autism.

In the process of seeking an autism diagnosis for your child in Illinois, it's essential to consult with qualified psychologists and neuropsychologists who specialize in autism assessments. They will conduct thorough evaluations, interpret the results, and provide recommendations for appropriate interventions and support services. Collaborating with these professionals ensures the best possible outcome for your child and their future development.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) play a crucial role in the diagnostic process for autism in Illinois. These professionals specialize in evaluating and treating communication disorders, making them valuable members of the diagnostic team.

Communication Specialists

SLPs are communication specialists who focus on assessing and diagnosing communication difficulties in individuals. They have expertise in understanding the nuances of language development and communication skills in children.

When it comes to autism diagnosis, SLPs are particularly skilled in evaluating the language and communication abilities of individuals. They assess various aspects, including expressive and receptive language skills, social communication, pragmatics, and nonverbal communication. By examining these areas, SLPs can identify any delays, impairments, or atypical patterns of communication that may be indicative of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Evaluating Language and Communication Skills

During the assessment process, SLPs utilize standardized tests, observations, and interviews to gather information about a child's communication abilities. They may engage in play-based activities or use specific tasks to elicit responses and evaluate language skills. These assessments help SLPs identify any significant language delays, difficulties with social communication, or challenges in understanding and using language.

In addition to formal assessments, SLPs also consider other factors that may impact communication, such as sensory issues or motor difficulties. They collaborate with other professionals involved in the diagnostic process to ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

It's important for parents seeking an autism diagnosis for their child in Illinois to include an evaluation by a qualified SLP. Collaborating with professionals from different disciplines, such as pediatricians, developmental-behavioral pediatricians, and child psychiatrists, ensures a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis. This approach maximizes the accuracy and reliability of the evaluation and helps guide appropriate interventions and support.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists play a crucial role in the comprehensive diagnosis of autism in Illinois. They specialize in assessing sensory processing and motor skills, which are often areas of difficulty for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Assessing Sensory Processing and Motor Skills

One of the key areas that occupational therapists evaluate is sensory processing. Sensory processing refers to how individuals perceive and respond to sensory information from their environment. People with ASD often experience sensory sensitivities or difficulties in processing sensory input, which can impact their daily functioning.

During an assessment, occupational therapists use various tools and techniques to evaluate sensory processing. They observe how a child responds to different sensory stimuli such as touch, sound, and movement. They may also use standardized assessments to gather objective data and compare the child's responses to typical development milestones. By assessing sensory processing, occupational therapists can identify specific sensory challenges and develop strategies to address them.

In addition to sensory processing, occupational therapists also assess motor skills. Motor skills encompass both fine motor skills (such as grasping objects, handwriting) and gross motor skills (such as walking, running). Difficulties in motor coordination and planning are common in individuals with ASD. Occupational therapists use standardized assessments, clinical observations, and interviews with parents and teachers to evaluate motor skills. Based on the assessment findings, they can provide recommendations and interventions to improve motor skills and overall functional abilities.

Collaboration between occupational therapists and other professionals, such as speech-language pathologists and psychologists, is essential for a comprehensive evaluation of autism. By working together as a multidisciplinary team, these professionals can gather a wide range of information and perspectives to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

If you're seeking an autism diagnosis in Illinois, it's important to find qualified professionals who specialize in autism assessment. These resources can help you find professionals who are knowledgeable about the specific diagnostic criteria for autism in Illinois, as well as the assessment process. By working with a team of experienced professionals, you can ensure that your child receives a thorough evaluation and appropriate support tailored to their unique needs.

Educational Specialists

When seeking an autism diagnosis in Illinois, parents may also seek assistance from educational specialists who play a crucial role in the evaluation process. These professionals have expertise in assessing a child's educational needs and can provide valuable insights into their development. Two key types of educational specialists involved in the autism diagnosis process are school psychologists and special education evaluators.

School Psychologists

School psychologists are professionals who specialize in assessing and supporting children's academic and social-emotional development within an educational setting. They have a deep understanding of the unique challenges that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may face and can provide valuable insights during the diagnostic process.

School psychologists collaborate with other professionals involved in the evaluation, such as medical professionals, psychologists, and speech-language pathologists. They contribute their expertise by conducting assessments, analyzing data, and interpreting results. School psychologists also play a vital role in providing recommendations for educational interventions and support services tailored to the child's needs.

Special Education Evaluators

Special education evaluators are professionals who specialize in assessing students with disabilities, including autism. They work closely with parents, educators, and other specialists to gather comprehensive information about a child's strengths and challenges in various domains. Their evaluations focus on identifying the educational needs of the child and determining appropriate supports and services.

During the evaluation process, special education evaluators conduct assessments and observations to gather data on the child's cognitive abilities, academic skills, social-emotional development, and adaptive functioning. They may also collaborate with other professionals, such as school psychologists and speech-language pathologists, to gain a holistic understanding of the child's abilities and challenges.

The evaluations conducted by school psychologists and special education evaluators are instrumental in guiding the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), which outline the specific educational goals, accommodations, and services tailored to the child's needs. These professionals play a vital role in ensuring that children with autism receive the appropriate educational support to thrive academically and socially.

When seeking an autism diagnosis in Illinois, it is essential to collaborate with a multidisciplinary team that includes educational specialists like school psychologists and special education evaluators. Their expertise and contributions, combined with those of medical professionals, psychologists, and speech-language pathologists, result in a comprehensive evaluation that informs effective interventions and support strategies.

Collaborating for a Comprehensive Diagnosis

When seeking an autism diagnosis in Illinois, it is important to understand the significance of a comprehensive evaluation. A multidisciplinary approach involving professionals from various fields is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. This section highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary evaluation team and provides resources for finding qualified professionals in Illinois.

The Importance of a Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team

Autism is a complex disorder that affects individuals in different ways. As such, a comprehensive evaluation requires input from professionals with expertise in various domains. A multidisciplinary evaluation team typically includes medical professionals, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and educational specialists.

Each member of the team brings a unique perspective and skill set to the evaluation process. Their collaboration ensures a holistic assessment of the child's strengths, challenges, and specific needs. By considering multiple aspects of the child's development, such as communication, behavior, cognition, and sensory processing, a more accurate diagnosis can be made.

The benefits of a multidisciplinary evaluation team include:

  • Comprehensive assessment: Professionals from different disciplines can evaluate various aspects of the child's development, enabling a more thorough understanding of their strengths and challenges.
  • Different perspectives: Each team member brings their own expertise and insights, contributing to a more comprehensive and accurate diagnosis.
  • Collaboration: By working together, professionals can share information, discuss observations, and develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the child's unique needs.
  • Holistic support: A multidisciplinary team can provide a comprehensive range of interventions and therapies to address the specific needs of the child and their family.

Resources for Finding Qualified Professionals

Finding qualified professionals for autism diagnosis in Illinois can be a daunting task. However, there are several resources available to help parents navigate this process. Here are some ways to find qualified professionals in Illinois:

  • Healthcare providers: Start by consulting your child's primary care physician or pediatrician. They can provide referrals to specialists or clinics that conduct autism evaluations.
  • Local autism organizations: Reach out to autism-focused organizations in Illinois, such as the Autism Society of Illinois or local chapters of national organizations like Autism Speaks. They can provide recommendations and connect you with professionals experienced in diagnosing autism.
  • Educational resources: Contact your child's school or school district for information on their special education services. School psychologists and special education evaluators can be valuable resources for autism evaluations.
  • Online directories: Utilize online directories that list professionals specializing in autism evaluations in Illinois. These directories often allow you to search by location, specialty, and insurance acceptance.

Remember to verify the credentials and experience of professionals before making a decision. It is essential to choose professionals who have expertise in autism diagnostics and are familiar with the diagnostic criteria specific to Illinois.

By collaborating with a multidisciplinary evaluation team and utilizing available resources, parents in Illinois can ensure their child receives a comprehensive assessment leading to an accurate autism diagnosis.


How early can my child be diagnosed with autism?

Autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months of age, but most children are diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 4. It's important to note that every child is different, and some may not show signs of autism until later in childhood.

Will insurance cover the cost of an autism diagnosis?

In Illinois, most insurance plans are required to cover the cost of screening and diagnosis for autism. However, it's important to check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage.

Can a school psychologist diagnose autism?

While school psychologists are trained to evaluate students for a variety of conditions, they typically do not have the specialized training required to diagnose autism. If you suspect that your child has autism, it's best to seek an evaluation from a licensed psychologist or developmental pediatrician.

What should I bring to my child's diagnostic appointment?

It's important to bring any relevant medical records, including previous evaluations or assessments. You should also be prepared to provide information about your child's behavior and development history.

What should I do if I disagree with a diagnosis?

If you disagree with a diagnosis or feel that your child was not properly evaluated, you have the right to seek a second opinion from another professional. It's important to advocate for your child and work with professionals who will listen to your concerns and collaborate with you on developing an appropriate treatment plan.


If you suspect that your child has autism, it's important to seek a professional diagnosis. In Illinois, there are several professionals who can diagnose autism, including psychologists, developmental pediatricians, and psychiatrists. The diagnostic process typically involves an initial evaluation, standardized tests and assessments, observation, and a diagnosis if appropriate. Remember, seeking a diagnosis is the first step in getting your child the support and treatment they need to thrive.